In my previous post about learning Spanish at Academia Hispano Americana, I compared the advantages and disadvantages of immersion and non-immersion program. Now, I want to write about my experience as a shy person learning to talk a second language.
As an introvert, sitting in class and not talking is what I do.
Thus, studying at a community college where in a week, I don’t necessarily open my mouth once is very comforting. But if the reason of learning a language is to communicate verbally, then this is not enough. As a result, I would really recommend shy people to take classes that is small with teachers and students that can make you feel safe.
I think as a shy person, I need to feel that it is okay to make mistakes and in addition, I need a teacher who will draw me out. Yeah, I wish I could just interject myself, but usually I cannot.
If you were stuck in a big class room though, I found that sitting in the front row is helpful in making me feel more comfortable because I don’t have to speak loudly to the teacher and I don’t see the rest of the “intimidating” students.
Finally, I also force myself to speak up on the first class meeting. Once I get started in speaking, it somewhat makes it easier to speak later on. I try not to beat myself up if I can’t contribute on the first day, but I try my best to do so. This is to break the habit of being quiet all the time.
Well, that’s it for me today. Shy readers out there, if you have any suggestions, please drop me a comment or two. We all can use some encouragement to get us speaking more comfortably. And hopefully, one day we can be like this deer who strutted down the road with style. 🙂